★Something Beyond


The final book that was brought up was Baho! by Roland Rugero. This like the previous novel, Tram 83, has a different feel to it. The story takes place in Burundi, where our mute protagonist tries to ask a young girl of a proper place where to relieve himself. Unfortunately his actions are mistaken for something far more sinister and because of him running away from the screaming girl, to the town people this to them confirms his guilt of premeditated rape. The story does not focus too much on the plot but on concepts of communication, justice and other topics like African cosmology.

Communication should be an interesting topic considering that our protagonist is a mute. Before, he was just a child who did not want to speak, but because his parents worry he was taken to the wise folk of the town. They snipped some veins in his throat and thought that it would be enough to make him speak. Turns out it was something that actually made him become the mute he is in the novel.

He tries to communicate his innocence but can’t. It is interesting to note that when it came to his parent’s death, he did not try to communicate what had happened, if anything “Nyamuragi withdrew all trust from the words of men” (p 19) and attempted to not speak again. He then goes on to say “Man is all-powerful. He is to be feared. And fear, at its root, is but an unspoken questioning” (p 20). Men is to fear, specially considering his circumstances. The town’s people attack him and want blood because of what they thought he was going to do. Which brings in their own justice on the poor guy who cannot defend himself. They are not even willing to try and listen to him, and what little he can attempt to communicate, they use it against him and see it as him confessing to his crime. “He had made a vow to hold his tongue” (p 20), yet he broke it in order to keep living in the present. We also see no justice is trying to be brought to his parent’s death. If I recall correctly, they were killed by someone who wanted to to take their sheep and be wealthier. So far, there is silence on this topic, which makes me believe that there was no justice brought to them by these justice-hungry town people.

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